Dungannon completed their Ulster League campaign with a trip to meet the League leaders, unbeaten City of Armagh. Although the hosts were hot favourites to win it turned out to be a tough derby encounter with Dungannon just 5 points short at the finish. Armagh took the 4 points but the visitors certainly deserved the losing bonus point that leaves them sitting nicely in mid-table.
Armagh made their presence felt early on after a whirl wind start winger Mervyn Brown dived over in the corner on 5 minutes. The momentum remained with the hosts and come the 12th minute Brown completed his brace with Harry Boyd adding the extras to make it 12-0. Thoughts of the hosts continuing to score a point per minute soon disappeared when Stephen Todd led a notable midfield charge. A deliberate ‘knock on’ spoiled a chance and when Armagh’s discipline failed them James Morton was sent to the ‘bin’. Dungannon quickly took advantage and Andrew Weir raced in on 22 minutes. Jordan McIlwaine added the extras to leave the score at 12-7. On the half hour Morton returned for the hosts but almost immediately Armagh’s South African star, JJ Scheepers took Cashel out mid-air and he was yellow-carded. Dungannon’s hopes of getting closer were thwarted when an Armagh counter-attack brought a dangerous diagonal kick. Dungannon cleared the wing position but the outbreak of ‘yellow card fever’ continued with Dungannon losing Weir. Added to that an Armagh drive was in progress when the ref awarded them a penalty try. The Dungannon players looked puzzled but it gave the hosts a 19-7 lead at the break.
Dungannon competed well in the second half and it came as no surprise when John Russell touched down on 50 minutes with McIlwaine again adding the conversion. Hopes of shocking the league leaders did not materialize as three visits to the Armagh line failed to yield any points. Armagh certainly contained the threat holding on to take the win on a 19-14 score line. Both sides were short a few regulars on this occasion and all credit to both teams for such an entertaining encounter.
Dungannon:- Glenn Sinnamon, Daniel Maxwell, Sean O’Hagan, Lewis McCrabbe, Stephen Todd, Cameron Steenson, David Leyburn, Adam Milligan, John Russell, Adam Evans, Peter Cashel, Andrew Weir, Andrew McGregor, Jordan McIlwaine, Matthew Montgomery, Jamie McNeill, James Gamble, Matthew Calvert, Jonny Toal, Aaron Nelson.
Armagh:- Eoin O’Hagan, Peter Lamb, Philip Fletcher, Stephen Morton Ollie Millar, Gareth McNeice, James Morton, Neill Faloon, Alex Johnston, Harry Boyd, Mervyn Brown, Stuart Lester, John Faloon, David Agnew, Glen Faloon, Andrew Morton, Aaron White, JJ Scheepers, David Spratt, Timmy McNeice.